:: The S.I.C.L.E. Cell ::

my view from the prison of a SICLE (Self-Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease
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:: Tuesday, March 25, 2003 ::

I've been online with my experience for the last 6 years. The SICLE is in a constant state of evolution and never ceases until it's time for the big dirt nap. Over the years I've received over a thousand related emails, and most of them have been very supportive and encouraging. Still, there have been a few folks who have sent vitriol-laden missives that would make an abortionist blush.

Part of the definition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is having gone through something that travels beyond the realm of usual human experience. Abortion-related PTSD exists because humans do not usually reach up into their wombs and yank out their own progeny. The species isn't wired for that. On an instinctual level, induced abortion doesn't make sense. But people strive to find order in everything, so we are constantly trying to make sense of what happened. If we can just order everything, figure it out, neatly compartmentalize every factor, maybe the Rubik's cube will finally solve, and we'll have a lock on healing or at least real, solid closure. Until then, we're like a clockwork mouse bumping into the wall over and over and over again as we repeatedly ask ourselves the same unsolvable questions ad nauseum. (The featured query being "How could I have done that?!")

Some mothers want to solve it so badly (and quickly) that they cheat (and encourage others to do the same). They force the stickers off the cube and move them to their unassigned but apparently solved spots. The solution is an illusion. Some of these false moves often involve insincere mantras of:

"You did the best thing you could at the time."

"You weren't weak; just the fact that you got an abortion proves how strong you really are."

"It wasn't really a baby."

These post-abortion moms meet on "neutral" boards that are anything but. Many sit in sticker-swapping circles like children trading baseball cards at recess. They are more concerned with uniformity than they are with dealing with the genuine disarray of mismatched sides. The seemingly "finished" cube keeps them sane. Don't dare suggest that a woman has a right to determine that abortion was a mistake. When a mom suspects that she had a responsibility to her child, do not agree that such a feeling is at all rational. Instead give her a sticker: "Try and remember all the very good reasons you had for getting that abortion. They were very important or else you wouldn't have had the strength to make such a difficult decision." Don't allow anyone to get hold of a genuine cube; Give them a platitude or get out.

I think it explains why, of the small percentage of hate-mail I've received, the nastiest letters have come from other women who say their self-imposed child loss was a positive event. I have been accused of being mentally ill for hurting so badly over the loss of a 15-week-old know-nothing, feel-nothing, be-nothing fetus. I have been called a liar who never lost a child in the first place. I have been dismissed as a lackey for the "pro-life" movement and even my gender has been questioned. I have been hated, insulted, gagged, and verbally abused for grieving, questioning, evolving, confronting, speaking, and refusing to lift so much as a corner of a sticker. I'm not saying everyone has to react as I have or feel as I do, but it is wrong to silence the ones who do. I would not be shocked to discover that women's biggest contemporary oppressors are in fact women.

Leo Buscaglia once said, "Those who are hardest to love need the love the most." It encourages me to be gentle with the sticker-swappers who hate me for calling their game. They probably have the most to lose.


:: ashli 8:25 AM # ::

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